Life and Death in Texas

03.08.2011

Just sitting here at 3am about to leave for the airport thinking about the last few weeks here in Texas.

The Reprieve house is all packed up, Sophie and Annie have left for opposite corners of the United States and I will fly off in a couple of hours.

The work we did here did not save Mark Stroman’s life and that is sad and upsetting and makes me angry. Mark was failed by the system, as was his victim, the ever amazing Rais Bhuiyan. Not one judge stood up for Rais’ civil rights and not one judge stood up for Mark’s life. Instead each one of them put their signature on Mark’s death warrant. We went all out, all out, and threw the very very best that we had against the Texan courts and the courts of this country. But at just before 8PM on Wednesday my eyes filled with tears as a writ of prohibition was served by the Court of Criminal Appeals that ultimately sent Mark Stroman to his death. It was the end of the road for our legal battle and the end of Mark’s life. At 8:53 that night he was pronounced dead.

This has been an amazing few weeks and I am proud of all that we did in such a short time to try and save Mark’s life. From finding jurors, to getting the state witnesses to tell the truth, affidavits from ineffective former counsel to submitting court filings and bringing a civil suit against the governor of Texas, to getting Mark and his lawyer to trust us enough to do our work. We made it happen here in Texas.

I am proud to have been a part of this and proud to be involved in work like this. Here is what I want to say to everyone involved:

* My first big ups go to my Reprieve sisters here in Texas; Annie and Sophie. We have been a family down here, them with their organic food and me with my red bulls, pineapple soda, candy and chips (crisps). I was inspired by both of you and we couldn’t have done all that we did without each other.

* Clive – you are a court filing email demon. Thank you for all your hard work and for all your guidance and for the sheer volume of legal documentation that came from you.

* To Mark’s lawyer Lydia – thank you for your beds that you lent to us, and for allowing us to be a part of your legal team, representing Mark.

* To Rais’ lawyers for your efforts in the courtroom and on the streets of Austin, thank you for everything. You guys rock. From la Quinta to court to Kinkos and back again I was truly inspired by you all and it was an honour to work with y’all.

* To all those in London who helped with Mark’s clemency petition, liaised with the pen pals, helped organise Rais and Rick’s trip to Europe. Tineke, David, Maya, Emmanuelle, Chai and everyone else involved.

* Kat & Donald thank you for your patience, for all the press releases and media work and for working on Texas time, late at the office.

* To Emma for putting up with me with all those car rental and flight reservations.

Today Rais met Mark’s daughter Amber and promised me he would help her where her father could not and cannot. Rais you are truly amazing and the world is a better place because of you. Rais is a real hero in all of this and I feel truly blessed to have met him and to now call him a friend.

Goodbye Texas….

Published on the Reprieve website HERE

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